Homophobic Mohamed Eskander is to perform in Canada, angering many.
One of the greatest catalyzers for the cause of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom in general in Lebanon has been art. It is often the case that Lebanese artists, perhaps not so much out of advocacy, but with their own work, challenge the perceptions of society about certain taboo topics such as the Civil War, the status of women’s rights, homosexuality and sectarianism.
This is probably not so willy-nilly, as artists themselves are subject to tight censorship of their songs, films, plays and books and although rare, artists can be imprisoned over a song, in a country where weapons flow free across its borders and where criminals run free and attend their own press conferences, while people are legally prevented from expressing their opinions, put on trial for their sexual orientation and freely terrorized at times.
While this is true for many artists, it is not for all and in the growing industry of spectacle and entertainment there are always performers in the scene of Arab pop who are happy to appeal to the populism and prejudice of a society in which their popularity and rise to stardom is the result of this selfsame populism and prejudice. More than helping shape a culture already decadent, the society of celebrities and stars is but shaped by this culture.